- Amazon contract drivers hang smartphones on trees outside Whole Foods stores and delivery stations to get new orders online faster, according to a new Bloomberg report.
- This allows them to beat competing drivers and be able to break more orders, thus earning more money.
- It is one of the most recent examples of how increased competition among workers in the concert economy, which has been hit hard by the business downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
Amazon drivers hang phones from trees outside Amazon outlets in Chicago and Whole Foods stores so they have the first hurdle in accepting new orders, according to new report from Bloomberg.
The store watched videos of drivers synchronizing their phones with devices suspended from trees and then parked nearby to wait. Amazon’s system selects drivers based on who is closest to the pick-up location – meaning that drivers with access to phones even a little closer to stores and delivery stations have the right to take orders before their competitors.
There is a coordinated group of drivers that uses the process, Bloomberg reported. Using many smartphones suspended in trees that warn many drivers make it more difficult for Amazon to discover their system.
The report is an example of the growing level of competition in the concert economy facing employees a sharp drop in business during the COVID-19 pandemic. The riders with the riding giants Uber and Lyft found themselves with less work and, in turn, have looked for other concert options, including taking orders from Amazon, to make more money, further intensifying competition, according to the report.
Non-process drivers have convened online chat rooms to decode how other drivers hit their orders so quickly, Bloomberg reported. Some have taken their complaints to Amazon and Bloomberg saw an internal email in which the company said it would investigate but would not be able to share its findings with drivers.
“Amazon knows this, but it does nothing,” a guide told Bloomberg.
In an email to Business Insider, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Immediate Offers are another way for delivery partners to be their own boss and work according to their own schedule,” referring to the company’s fast delivery options.
“This story is not an accurate description of how they work and waiting in the parking lot or using the Wi-Fi store is not an effective way to increase one’s chances of seeing an instant offer,” he added.